Are Heat Pumps Noisy from Inside Your House?

When you’re investing in a heat pump for your home you want to know exactly what you’re getting and understand what heat pump noises to expect. 

Some online videos show heat pump boilers making loud off-putting noises, however, fear not, heat pump noise inside the house is usually not a problem if your heat pump is working normally.

If you can hear your loud noises from your heat pump inside your property it may be a sign that your heat pump is faulty. 

Heat pumps generally create less noise than other types of heating system, however, the noise level of your heat pump system will depend on the type of heat pump you install.

The amount of noise that your heat pump will create will depend on whether you have an air source heat pump or a ground source heat pump. Due to their design, air source heat pumps will create more noise than a ground source heat pump. 

Here are the noise levels you can expect from your heat pump and an overview of common heat pump noises so you aren’t surprised when your heat pump system is working.

How noisy are air source heat pumps?

Air source heat pumps are generally reasonably quiet and will produce low noise levels, little more than a gentle humming or whirring sound. The noise is created by the fan within the unit. You will generally find that if the air source heat pump is working hard to produce heat it will make more noise. But this also means that when it isn’t working hard like overnight (if the heating and hot water are off) you can expect peace and quiet. 

Air source heat pumps generally produce noise at a level of 40-60 decibels from 1 meter away. This is considered low moderate noise and is comparative to a library and quieter than a dishwasher or medium rainfall. 

Air source heat pumps have an outdoor unit and use the warm air to create heat so there will be some noise from the fan blades. This is why deciding on the right location for your heat pump is key. If you install the pump in the right location you should hear very little noise. It is advised to install heat pumps away from any opening windows and doors, and if you are likely to have the heating on overnight try to place it away from bedrooms to avoid interruption. 

Older models can create a bit more noise when producing heat, so if you want a less noisy heat pump, new models that are installed correctly are likely to be much quieter.

Here is how much space you need for an air source heat pump.

Heat pump noise regulations

Even though air source heat pumps are relatively quiet, they aren’t silent. Noise pollution needs to be considered before the installation stage when getting a heat pump unit to check how much noise the outside unit will produce.

To make sure you don’t upset your neighbours you want to install your heat pump with its large fan located as far away from neighbouring properties as possible. You may even want to go and chat with your neighbours before getting the heat pump installed so they are prepared for the new addition. 

Air source heat pumps also need to be installed more than 1 metre away from your boundary which should help to keep the noise down for your neighbours.

Installing a heat pump away from any opening windows – especially a window into a bedroom will help you get as much sound proofing as possible. 

Check with your installer that the noise pollution will be below 45 decibels, if it is going to be noisier you may need to get planning permission.

Do heat pumps need planning permission?

How much noise do ground source heat pumps make?

Ground source heat pumps are generally even quieter than air source heat pumps as they don’t have a large fan and they generally have to work less hard than air source heat pumps as the ground where they absorb heat from is normally warmer than the air. 

Ground source heat pumps normally sit inside the property. As they don’t have a fan unit, a ground source heat pump sounds more like a normal dishwasher and requires little sound proofing.

However, a ground source heat pump can cause some minor vibrations, which is something you need to be aware of before installation starts. You want to consider the location of the heat pump unit if you plan to have the heating or hot water on overnight, you may feel some vibrations if it is placed near a bedroom. 

If this is likely to bother you, you could invest in some anti-vibration measures to help with soundproofing around the heat pump.

Here is how much space you need for a ground source heat pump.

Are heat pumps quieter than boilers?

Generally, heat pumps are quieter and produce less noise while heating than traditional fossil foil boilers. The noise is likely to be different from a traditional boiler due to the fans and other components, however, the noise level is still generally considered low.

What to do if your heat pump is noisy

Some noise is common with heat pumps and if the system is booting up, working hard to warm your home or in defrost mode it is likely to be noisier. However, if the heat pump starts making a clanking noise or if you are noticing gurgling noises or a hissing sound that is getting louder contact the person who installed the pump or another registered engineer and check if you have a maintenance plan. It is advisable to get your heat pumps serviced regularly as dirty motors can create more noise or the noise could signal a more serious problem.